“Killing Them Softly”
Rated: R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language and some drug use
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Who’s in it: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini
What it’s about: After two dimwitted hoods rob a mob-sanctioned poker game, an out-of-town enforcer (Pitt) is called in to hunt them down and restore the local underworld economy.
Verdict: Writer-director Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) begins with the Quentin Tarantino template of talkative, philosophical hit men and tries to expand it into a parable about America’s economic meltdown in the fall of 2008. The metaphors are too obvious (the poker game represents Wall Street), and frequent cutaways to speeches from then-President Bush and then-candidate Obama push the political cynicism too hard. Pitt leads a strong cast, but if all the scenes of self-pitying dialogue were eliminated, the movie would be 30 minutes long.